You Can’t Run From Death: Suspense II

By Nathan Grayson on June 30th, 2012 at 8:00 am.

Well, this seems innocent enough.

I think we’ve all had a good think or two about what we’d do if we ever gained the power to time travel. Most of us, however, probably haven’t decided on “get sad and die.” (And if you have, gosh, at least go ride a T-Rex first or something.) Happy-sadly, Suspense II uses a gauntlet of fairly brainy puzzles in conjunction with said time travel powers – all the while subjecting you to heart-rending ruminations on the nature of mankind and mortality. See, at any given moment, you’re able to hop back-and-forth between a sunny rural area full of soaring mountains and their respective majesties and, er, the apocalypse. Some of the tiny, wordless environmental stories Suspense II tells with that conceit, though, are brilliant. It’ll only take you 20-30 minutes, so give it a quick play here. Then do some soul-searching, learn to play guitar like you always meant to, and – when you’re ready – come back and read my (somewhat spoilery) thoughts after the break.

So yeah, most of the early puzzles are pretty rudimentary, but a few of the later levels either threw me for a loop, made me nod knowingly in a fashion one might expect from someone who’s seen the end of days, or both. Some of the jumping puzzles were a bit frustrating, though, thanks to finicky, occasionally unresponsive jumping. Also, I’d like to see a game like this do a bit more than say, “Hey mighty Time Lord, master of this domain and many beyond it, push some boxes and pull some levers. Yeah!” I mean, at least contextualize it a bit or something.

WAIT NO IT WASN'T INNOCENT AT ALL AAAAH WHY.

But wow, there were a couple moments where I flashed forward to the Gloomy Death Times and nearly gasped. I watched a man build the cross he was eventually crucified on. That’s the kind of subtext that inspires mopey off-tune acoustic guitar ballads. And then, of course, there’s the last level, which is – yes – unbeatable. Even as some kind of wonderful parkour-running office man time traveler (aka, the dream we all aspire to), you can’t outrun Death.

So that’s a cheery note to start your weekend on. Go hug people and stuff. Climb a tree. Pick some flowers. Pet a dog!

Thanks, Gameological Society.

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8 Comments »

  1. Shazbut says:

    Man, I really want a game where the future is NOT portrayed as a wasteland or plagued by intergalactic war. Someone has to have some hope for humanity.

    • Parfe says:

      Who’d play that?

    • appropriate touching says:

      “Future sports” games like Wipeout? That’s perhaps a corporate dystopia, but the world looks pretty livable.

      The main thing that bothered me about this was that there are levers that control the action of a platform in the past. OK for an abstract game, but if they’re trying to generate emotion by evoking a real apocalypse something so ridiculous doesn’t fit in.

  2. Njordsk says:

    I’d go in the very very past when we were just apes with a shittons of nukes and ends it all before we even exist.

    Optimistic I am.

  3. Srekel says:

    Yeah, the good parts of the game were definitely seeing the present and how the same space looked in the future – like the miner (?) who in the future was a skeleton next to his shovel in the pit. More of that would have been great. The puzzles were perhaps a bit too easy – I never had to stop and think for more than 10 seconds.

    The ending scene was the worst part of the game. Suddenly it turns into a hectic platformer, that it does badly because of the jump issue you mentioned (glad it wasn’t just me). If you fail you die and you need to restart. Unless you die *when the game makes you die* in which case it’s credit roll time. :(

  4. Koozer says:

    I would bury a Gameboy Color with Pokemon Red on the spot that will eventually produce Ben Nevis.

  5. El Stevo says:

    “It’ll only take you 20-30 minutes”

    Been stuck on Scene III for 30 minutes.

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